Social Constraints

Sri Lankan architects say post-tsunami reconstruction has ignored the coastal community’s social makeup and small neighbourhood lifestyles. Sri Lanka Institute of Architects President Rukshan Widyalankara says the island’s population live in a small neighbourhood setup, with each household establishing its “status” through the size, structure and contents of their homes.

“Neighbourhoods thrive on the concept of being better than each other and competing to outdo their neighbour.”

Widyalankara says though basic housing was the immediate need in the aftermath of the December 2004 tsunami which damaged or destroyed over 100,000 homes, ignoring the social aspects of how they lived would have a mid to long term negative effect on the community.

The Association’s chief says some families will eventually leave their post-tsunami homes for bigger, better quarters.

This situation could lead to other social problems like a drop in job creation, a drain in entrepreneurship and capital investments even in small projects like groceries.

Instead, Widyalankara says donor and government agencies involved in the reconstruction effo